12 people 12 stories

Nonviolence works

In 2020 we celebrate the 40th anniversary of our association. On this occasion we have collected stories about successful nonviolent actions, because "nonviolence works". We hear about cunning actions, uncomfortable questions and sometimes about daring blockades.

Here you can read what old and new companions report: Margit Albers, Wolfgang Hertle, Hagen Berndt, Michael Schneider, Lihi Joffe, Fin Kuhl, Nenad Vukosavljević, Albulena Karaga, Jana Burke, Katja Tempel, Singham Ponnampalam and the women's group from Al-Walajah.

All 12 stories at a glance:

Mai Ali Shatta Aktion

Action for a Peaceful Revolution

Sudanese Women inspired by the power of cooperation for change

"Peaceful demonstrations by civilian activists have definitely contributed to bringing about the Sudanese Revolution. This alone is proof of the powerful impact of nonviolent action. And I’m particular proud of the part that women played in this context.”

Lihi Joffe Aktion

A Feminist Perspective of Peace in the Middle East

Jewish and Palestinian women united against Israeli occupation

“Women can achieve a lot when they work together, and their feminist perspective can help to transform society as a whole. This is of particular importance in Israel.” For Lihi Levian Joffe, a feminist perspective implies empathy and solidarity as well as the willingness to learn from each other with an open and inclusive mind. This can help to promote peace and the observance of human rights in a country prone to military confrontation.

Michael Schneider Aktion

Opera Arias and an “Oscar” for the Home Secretary

As peace worker from the Wendland via Zurich and Berlin to Nepal

“Nonviolent resistance against the transport of nuclear waste to Gorleben has been a crucial part of my upbringing”, says Michael Schneider from Lomitz in the Wendland. His parents were activists in the anti-nuclear movement, and there were many discussions at home about the significance and potential impact of nonviolent action. International peacebuilding played an important part, too.

Katja Tempel Aktion

At least there was One Hour less Training for War

Nonviolent resistance against atomic weapons, nuclear waste transports and genetic engineering

I’ve grown up with the principle that we can only live well if all human beings have equalchances and  minority rights are observed, too. Whenever this is not the case, there has to be resistance.”

Nenad Vukosavljević Aktion

To Perceive the „Enemy“ as a Human Being

Difficult efforts for reconciliation in former Yugoslavia

“It’s only when you meet the ‘enemies’ personally and perceive them as human beings that you can overcome the hate-filled black-and-white picture of friends and enemies. As long as this isn’t working, there is always a danger of violent conflicts flaring up again.” This belief has motivated Nenad Vukosavljević for the last 25 years to promote direct contacts between the previously warring factions of former Yugoslavia.

Albulena Karaga Aktion

Education as a Strong Agent of Social Change

“Dealing with the past” a very sensitive issue in North Macedonia

“I consider it an illusion to think that nonviolence isn’t working when we haven’t given it a chance. After all, violent interventions haven’t achieved much in decades. We just have to try hard and long enough and provide the necessary resources in order to be successful with nonviolent action. And one of the most effective means is education.” For Albulena Karaga, education can bring about sustainable change.

Wolfgang Hertle Aktion

Nonviolent resistance with an international dimension

From Larzac in France to the North-German Wendland

“We wanted to combine political education with nonviolent action in a region immediately affected by conflict.” That’s how Wolfgang Hertle explains the idea to found a “Centre for Training and Networking in Nonviolent Action” in the North-German Wendland forty years ago. It was triggered by the decision of the German Government in 1977 to make Gorleben the site for a nuclear waste repository. The opposing citizen initiative group in the local town of Lüchow-Dannenberg asked for support.

Al-Walajah Aktion

Gardens and Upcycling Products as Symbols of Resistance

Defiance of Al-Walajah’s women against Israeli occupation

The best thing in the world is to have a house for yourself with some land around and some space and calmness. This is ultimate stability!” Ilham Zeda fromAl-Walajah in the  occupied West Bank can certainly not take stability for granted. Like all other villagers, she is constantly facing the risk of being evicted and having her house demolished. Yet, Ilham and other Palestinian women won’t give in to the threats of the Israeli army.

Hagen Berndt Aktion

“International Peacebuilding Has to Start at Home”

Cooperation across borders only successful at eye-level

“We have been engaged in professional international peacebuilding long before the German Civil Peace Service was officially established in 1999.” Hagen Berndt likes looking back to the 1990s when he decisively shaped the profile of KURVE Wustrow. As Educational Coordinator, he was responsible for the “International Trainings” which have been offered since 1994 and have remained a hallmark of the Centre for Training and Networking in Nonviolent Action. In this context, the following point has always been of major importance to Hagen: “International cooperation must not be a one-way street.”

Margrit Albers Aktion

“Bad Boys Won’t Get into our Home”

Resistance should be fun

For Margrit Albers, there is no doubt about the positive impact of nonviolent action. “There is clear evidence of this in scientific studies”, says the educationist who has been closely associated with KURVE Wustrow from the very beginnings. One might achieve more public attention with violent means, but this would destroy the very goal one is trying to achieve. “If you want to create a world without violence, you have to get there without violence”, is Margrit’s deep conviction. “You have to anticipate your goal in the course of your action.”

Jana Burke Aktion

The Voice of the Youth for Peace

Demanding acknowledgement of young people’s views

“I’m always asking myself in what kind of a world we want to live in the future and, in this context, the concerns of the young generation must not be ignored.” Jana Burke is convinced that young people can make a vital contribution to a peaceful world, therefore their views have to be given consideration at the social and political level. That’s why the former international volunteer of KURVE Wustrow got involved in the “United Network of Young Peacebuilders”.

Fin Kuhl Aktion

Civil Disobedience against Injustice

An ecological lifestyle according to the teachings of Gandhi

“When I come across blatant injustice, I just have to get involved in action for change”, says Fin Kuhl from Blütlingen near Wustrow. For him, solidarity with people suffering under injustice is an important principle which – whenever necessary – also motivates him to commit acts of civil disobedience. It’s a principle he grew up with: His parents have been involved in the anti-nuclear movement of the North German Wendland for decades, and Fin, when still a teenager, organised a protest of pupils against the transport of Castor containers with nuclear waste to the repository of Gorleben.